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Competition Among Oil Marketers Will Drive Down Petrol Prices, NNPC CEO Assures Nigerians

Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, addressed the growing concerns among Nigerians regarding the escalating prices of Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as petrol, across the country. Kyari assured the public that intensified competition among major players in the oil sector would eventually drive down the cost of petrol, countering the prevailing upward trend that has caused widespread panic.The recent discontinuation of petroleum subsidy led to a surge in petrol pump prices, prompting long queues at fuel stations nationwide. While the NNPC announced on Wednesday that it had adjusted the pump price to reflect market realities, the agency did not disclose the new prices. However, numerous retail outlets in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, and other states reportedly sold petrol between ₦600 and ₦800.Efforts to resolve the fuel subsidy removal issue through discussions between the Federal Government and organized labor came to an impasse on Wednesday, as consensus could not be reached in light of the hike in petrol pump prices from ₦195 to over ₦700 per litre by oil marketers.During an interview on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Thursday, Kyari emphasized that the removal of the subsidy would create room for new entrants into the market, thereby fostering competition and eradicating monopoly. This, according to him, would eventually lead to a decrease in petroleum pump prices across the nation.Kyari explained, “The beauty of this subsidy removal is that it will attract new entrants into the market because oil marketing companies have been reluctant to participate due to the existing subsidy regime. The lack of a repayment guarantee for those who provide the product at a subsidized price has been a significant deterrent. Now that the market is being regulated, oil marketing companies can import products or purchase locally produced ones and sell them at retail prices.”He continued, expressing optimism about the impact of competition, “Therefore, you will witness competition, even from NNPC. By law, NNPC can only account for a maximum of 30 percent of the market going forward. Once the market stabilizes, oil marketing companies will be able to enter. Competition will undoubtedly emerge, leading to self-regulation of prices in the market. Consequently, prices will fluctuate as major players adopt different approaches, guided by competition. Ultimately, downward changes are highly likely due to increased efficiency.”Responding to queries regarding fuel stations raising their pump prices despite having subsidized stock, the NNPC CEO attributed it to the realities of the market. He explained that similar situations occur with all commodities, not just petroleum. Kyari noted, “Prices could have gone in the opposite direction, collapsing downwards, and those holding old stock would have to sell at lower prices to align with market conditions. This stock management issue is typical, and there is no way to circumvent it. The prices we currently observe at our stations represent the prevailing market price. This means that prices can decrease at any time, and the market will naturally adjust itself.”


Ademola Adeyemi

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